Tuesday 18 September, 2018

Petrocaribe projects total US$5B - Hughes

Projects amounting to some US$5 billion (J$675 billion) have been financed over the past 13 years under the PetroCaribe arrangement between Jamaica and Venezuela.

That’s according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Petro-Caribe Development Fund, Dr Wesley Hughes.

Hughes said the contribution of the Fund to Jamaica has been “meaningful and significant”.

He was speaking at a ceremony at the Simón Bolívar Cultural Centre at North Parade in downtown Kingston to mark the 203rd anniversary of the Jamaica Letter written by Venezuela's Liberator Simón Bolívar in 1815.

The event was organised by the Simón Bolívar Cultural Centre, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Dr Hughes said the PetroCaribe Development Fund, which has a mandate to strengthen national capacity in the areas of human capital, culture, infrastructure and the environment, had established the Simón Bolívar Cultural Centre as an important vehicle in strengthening the friendship between Jamaica and Venezuela.

Reflecting on the Jamaica Letter, he said it has had a “long-lasting impact on Venezuela and on all of Latin America, and I dare say the Caribbean”.

He said the letter demonstrated that Simón Bolívar understood that social and political organisations had to be based on national foundations and must be inclusive of all classes of the people who lived in those societies.

“Today, 203 years later, we stand here, a few metres from where Simón grappled with the ideas of nationhood, independence and national identity and how leaders should relate to their citizens,” Hughes said.

In her remarks, Under-secretary, Bilateral, Regional and Hemispheric Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Alison Stone-Roofe, said the letter came at a critical juncture in the liberation struggles of Latin America.

She said it outlined the successes of the region in the struggle for freedom, presented justifications for independence and stressed the need for regional integration.

“It is, therefore, quite fitting for us today, on this anniversary of the Jamaica Letter, to highlight those principles which Bolívar so fervently embodied and exemplified throughout his lifetime,” she said.